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Guilt Trading

Like carbon trading, only bigger
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Guilt is the single most prominent problem with what's wrong with the world right now these days. Many entrenched behavioural structures within cultures and societies are implemented as ways of managing guilt - but in reality they badly mismanage guilt.

The opposite of guilt is not, as one would at first suppose, a complete freedom to think or do just what on earth you'd like. That's something else entirely, related to an abuse of the privilege of self. The opposite of guilt is more akin to understanding of complexity and depth.

However, some societies and cultures around the world will continue to behave wrongly due to overriding concerns regarding how to handle guilt - that's just the way the do things - wrongly.

On the other hand, other cultures and societies consider themselves enlightened and developed. Well, if they think they measure up, come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Buy guilt - guilt might be able to be assigned a 'price'. By one culture or society agreeing to 'buy' the guilt of another, it makes whatever the guilty culture does alright then.

Of course, the primary problem is deciding which cultures are enlightened, and which are guilt-suffering in this market.

Ian Tindale, Sep 18 2009

Wikipedia: Indulgence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence
If you see Indulgences as sort of an inverse guilt, this old system was pretty close. [jutta, Sep 18 2009]

Sale of indulgences Sale_20of_20indulgences
A new revenue stream for cash-strapped Governments ? [8th of 7, Sep 19 2009]

[link]






       I'm sort of on board for your second paragraph, but the third one loses me. My top two exacerbating factors in guilt production are: (a) think you're in control of something that you're not; (b) expect too much.   

       (Speaking of which, I would like to take this time to profusely apologize for the recent heat wave in Saskatchewan. Clearly, this whole "rain dance" thing is harder than it looks.)
jutta, Sep 18 2009
  

       I think you'll find that the christian religions, particularly catholics, already have a system of guilt trading.
Twizz, Sep 18 2009
  

       //a system of guilt trading// in a "reverse pickpocket" sort of way
FlyingToaster, Sep 18 2009
  

       Ooh, hang on a minute. I foolishly gave away all my guilt to my analyst. I would hate for him to be able to sell it on ebay. Especially as I paid him to take it away in the first place.

Perhaps I could get a refund. Like you used to be able to with taking bottles back to the off-license.

[looks out of window] I think jutta's rain dance worked. It's just that the targetting was a bit off.
DrBob, Sep 18 2009
  

       So, in much the same way that you can buy carbon offsets for air travel, you would be able to buy guilt offsets for, say, cheating on your expenses/taxes/spouse?
egbert, Sep 18 2009
  

       Sell me all your guilt ... go to this website: www.sellyourguilt.com ... describe your guilt in as much detail as you can. The more detail the better. Some have even written whole books. Cost $1 / word.

... Server side:
Payment -> my bank account
Guilt description -> /dev/null (if someone asks, this is for privacy and confidentiality reasons)
ixnaum, Sep 19 2009
  

       I'm confused here. It seems that guilt has a negative value.   

       For the sake of argument, let's suppose I feel guilty about eating factory-farmed meat, contributing to global warming by commuting 90miles/day, spending money on luxuries when people are starving, working for a company that makes weapons to enable rich countries' soldiers to kill poor countries' soldiers with minimal risk to the rich countries' soldiers, and generally not living up to my expectations for myself. Anyone want to buy my guilt? Even though I'm in the richest 1% of people alive today, I can always use some extra cash. My guilt is high-quality and abundant.   

       Am I missing something here? Ian, could you please provide a real-world example of what this would look like?
sninctown, Sep 19 2009
  

       Roman Catholicism ?
8th of 7, Sep 19 2009
  

       Don't think about this idea as a person or individual or a self. Think about it entirely from the perspective of a whole community or culture or society, and over a much longer term than a single instance.
Ian Tindale, Sep 19 2009
  

       I'm still having trouble imagining this. It seems like when a society does feel guilty about something, they generally do something about it (eg formally apologize, pay reparations, grant favorable laws, etc.). In some cases these are actual payments. Your idea seems to suggest the payments are going the other way; to, not away from, the guilty.
sninctown, Sep 20 2009
  

       If you were about to do something really bad it might be prudent to buy some guilt futures.
hippo, Sep 20 2009
  

       But everything is my fault.
nineteenthly, Sep 20 2009
  
      
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